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Your! Call: Will the Honda Indy be twice as nice for Canada?

Shane McNeil, TSN.ca Staff

7/12/2013 11:29:46 PM

Lakeshore Boulevard is shut down and the omnipresent roar of engines has taken over Toronto.

It only means one thing: The Indy is back.

The IndyCar series has made a home in Toronto every year, save one, since 1986 and is about to embark on its newest incarnation.

For the first time in its 26-race history, the Toronto Indy is a two-race affair.

Will the added action prove to fortify the race's home in Toronto and Indy's popularity in Canada?

The Honda Indy has always been a weekend-long affair, with a festival taking over the Canadian National Exhibition grounds and it's always been more than just the race, with the whole Indy caravan rolling in.

That hasn't changed with this year's schedule featuring the Firestone Indy Lights, Cooper USF2000 Championship – essentially rookie ball for aspiring kart racers - as well as the Speed Energy Stadium Super Trucks, an off-roading racing circuit.

The slate is not for want of on-track action.

That said, the Indy is only in its fifth year under Honda's sponsorship and is just six removed from being skipped entirely in the aftermath of the Indy Racing League and Champ Car World Series unification.

Toronto is also the only Canadian stop on the IndyCar Series schedule in 2013. The 2012 season featured two stops, but Edmonton's organizers opted not to stage a race in 2013 due to lack of attendance and support from local businesses.

Canada has not been down to just one Indy race since the last (and only) time Toronto's course was passed over since Indy came to the lakeshore in 1986, which was back in 2008. In the glory days of the Champ Car circuit, Canada routinely hosted three races per year.

So, can Toronto shoulder the load of keeping Indy alive for Canadian fans?

The two-race scenario does offer Toronto's fans a unique opportunity in getting more bang for their buck over the span of one weekend, but it's not exactly like Toronto is getting special treatment.

The series has doubled down on a weekend in Detroit already this season and will do so again in Houston in October.

Will memories of the 2013 Honda Indy be clouded by the clarification of: "Which one?" Or, is doubling down on a familiar and fan-friendly circuit just the play IndyCar needs to get its wheels going once again in Canada.

Certainly, a win (or two!) from Canadians James Hinchlciffe or Alex Tagliani would define the 2013 race one way or another, but without it do you think two races is the way to go to get Indy back on the map in Canada?

As always, it's Your! Call.